NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ932356
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Diluting the Burden of Load: Perceptual Load Effects Are Simply Dilution Effects
Tsal, Yehoshua; Benoni, Hanna
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v36 n6 p1645-1656 Dec 2010
The substantial distractor interference obtained for small displays when the target appears alone is reduced in large displays when the target is embedded among neutral letters. This finding has been interpreted as reflecting low-load and high-load processing, respectively, thereby supporting the theory of perceptual load (Lavie & Tsal, 1994). However, a possible alternative interpretation of this effect is that the distractor is similarly processed in both displays, yet its interference in the large ones is diluted by the presence of the neutral letters. We separated the effects of load and dilution by introducing dilution displays. They contained as many letters as the high-load displays but were clearly distinguished from the target, thus allowing for a low-load processing mode. Distractor interference obtained under both the low-load and high-load conditions disappeared under the dilution condition. Hence, the display size effect traditionally misattributed to perceptual load is fully accounted for by dilution. Furthermore, when dilution is controlled for, it is high load not low load producing greater interference. (Contains 1 table and 10 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel